Special prosecutor requested to review deputy-involved shooting

By Dean Wright - deanwright@aimmediamidwest.com

GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Prosecutor Jason Holdren’s Office filed an application March 18 with the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas to request an Ohio Attorney General’s Office special state prosecutor be assigned to review the case of a deputy-involved shooting that took place on Ohio 7’s 800-block in Addison Township, Oct. 30, 2019.

According to paperwork filed with the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas, “Now comes Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney, and moves this Court pursuant to Section 2941.63 of the Ohio Revised Code, and pursuant to the inherent powers to this Court to act in the interest of justice, to appoint a Special Prosecuting Attorney to handle the investigation and make all prosecutorial decisions as he deems prudent and just… The State (as represented by the prosecutor’s office) asserts that a potential conflict exists with the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office handling this matter. Therefore, the State asks that this Court grant this motion and appoint Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and any of his assistant attorney general’s as he shall find necessary.”

Documents signed by Gallia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Margaret Evans approved the request and ordered that “Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and any of his assistant attorney general’s as he shall find necessary shall be appointed as Special Prosecuting Attorney in and for Gallia County, Ohio, to handle the investigation and make all prosecutorial decisions…”

An Ohio Attorney General’s Office official confirmed that the case was being handled by its special prosecutions department.

As previously reported by Ohio Valley Publishing, Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin stated that deputies were dispatched to a reported breaking and entering in progress in the 1800 block of State Route 7 North, near the Kanagua rest area, in October of last year. Once on scene, deputies located an open door and made contact with several individuals inside the residence where at least one shot was fired by an officer.

Several individuals that were located inside the residence were taken into custody and one individual was taken by EMS to Holzer Medical Center where they were listed in stable condition at the time of the incident. None of the officers on scene were injured as a result of the incident.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called to investigate the incident and as standard protocol, the officer involved was placed on administrative leave.

Champlin said at the site of the incident that individuals at the residence had been taken to the Gallia Sheriff’s Office for questioning.

As per protocol and regardless of the nature of an officer-involved shooting, said Champlin, the law enforcement figure involved with the shooting is placed on administrative leave as an investigation continues.

“The deputy is back to work, however, we obviously turned the investigation over to BCI to conduct the investigation and ultimately the prosecutor has turned the review of the case over to the attorney general’s office as well to maintain transparency and ensure the public’s trust in the investigation and review of the case by independent agencies,” said Champlin.

Reportedly, the location of the incident had a history of police responses, said the sheriff.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.


By Dean Wright